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Circles and cycles

Eric's old shed in summer

From A Branch from the Lightening Tree: Ecstatic Myth and the Grace in Wilderness
by Martin Shaw:

"A Culture of Wilderness...encourages longing, handling paradox, experiencing community in rowan trees and dark pools of water, carrying images of power back to the village, and flourishing in the process. A Culture of Wilderness is what initiation and myth offer.

"Our life is a house, with a roof of night-birds and muscled pillars of experience, its eaves containing a musky web of unique passions, its base holding a great fire that comes up from the very heart of the earth itself; around the house are hives of bees and orchards of apples. It is good to give some of the honey away and let in a few good-natured apple poachers. There is no short-cut to the building of such a house, but the garden is the legacy that instinctively arises through time and feeds others.

Eric's shed in autumn

Eric's old shed and beehives in autumn

"All storytellers know that two types of time exist: one is the twenty-four hours, the school run, the bill-paying, forever catching-up time of our everyday world; but behind that looms the energy of mythic time, the great cycles that pulse from generation to generation. These great wheels infuse the everyday with nourishment, 'eternity in a grain of sand.' The philosopher Plotinus suggested that while the body favors a straight line, the soul hankers for the circle.

The shed in winter

The beehives in winter

"This mythic, circular time (which is really no kind of time at all) laughs at the straight line and the alarm clock. Without it -- even with all the riches of the world -- we can enter the arena of the meaningless. As markets collapse and the world heats up, we would do well to see Coyote's claws opening holes between the two. We live in an era of tremendous possibility."

The beehives in spring

The shed in spring

Tilly behind the shed in the spring

Photos above: "The Turning of the Seasons" -- our friend Eric's old shed and beehives on the village Allotments (viewed from the edge of the woods) during summer, autumn, winter, and spring.


Timely, wise words Terri. My 24 hour world has me rather frazzled right how (day 2 of an Ofsted inspection is about as bill paying and 24 hour as you can get).

I feel juat a bit too adrift from the circular, the beehive and the honey. Thank you for the words and the images, coyote's claws hooking us back in.

I've lately been living in the oddest of time frames, rather against the stream, and it seems to suit me. Rising at 4AM to work at reading and writing, or art making till between 8 and 10 AM--then napping through midday till early afternoon. Next another round of 'whatever'--home chores (laundry, cooking, cleaning), and outside home chores (a garden I tend nearby, banking, shopping, library etc.)--sometimes meeting a friend for tea--then my writing group, yoga group, or an event from 5-9, and home to supper + more of the art, writing, or TV if something's good. I sleep from between midnight or 1AM and then the cycle/circle repeats...all approximate and dictated only by some internal clock that got triggered by the change of season I think. Of course, I'm retired, living very close to the bone but adequate to basic needs. There was a time I struggled to meet employers time needs. I'm glad that's a 'was' now, and not an 'is'. Now and then I worry about being off the standard clock, but mostly I'm quite content.

Golly-don't let me forget to say how I loved the quotes and photos and even went to The Village Allotment link and marveled at the sense of it. We have community gardens here, as you know Terri, but they have to be defended from the voracious real estate interests quite often.

Hankering for the Circle

“(T)he soul hankers for the circle”
—Martin Shaw channeling Plotinus

The gyre of the falcon, the endless round,
the tip and tail of the serpent, what is this hankering?
Am I soulless to prize the straight line, the plumb
that drops down into the very center of my eternities?
I distrust corkscrews, the twisty trickeries
of Coyote, Rabbit, Anansi, Raven, Fox,
my mind being far simpler, my soul on a plane
whose existence counts on the shaving off
of the curvy spots. Or am I just clawing my way
back to the sanity of body away from the circle
of my deeper, demanding, consuming, passionate soul.

©2012 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Ah, I love this very different perspective. Wonderful, as always, Jane.

This is a beautiful, and personally timely, quote. Thank you! (And every time I see hives, I want to become a beekeeper. Someday.)

straight to the heart of the matter, good one Jane!

Michelle I love how you are attuned to your own particular clockwork ... your circle and cycle.

Soon the New Moon will bring with it the New Year for the Hawaiian Calendar and cycles remind me of the two sorts of time all storytellers know as Martin Shaw describes. I've written about this time, telling stories of myth to make sense of the clock. Take a peak if you'd like: http://makuaoo.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-moon-in-libra-monday-october-15.html

Thank you, Terri this is lovely and the hut is my kind of place!

Oh I love this blog! Such wisdom and beauty in worded form. Always lovely, always just what's needed. Thank you.

So great to see your post on Martin Shaw's work, Terri! I recently discovered "A Branch From the Lightning Tree." You know how one's body responds in the presence of something miraculous? My hands trembled when I first held this book. I'm almost afraid he's not real. What a gift!

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